Six considerations for strengthening your driver coaching strategy
Safer fleets pay less on insurance premiums, are more productive and profitable and they have happier drivers.
It’s a win-win-win. So how do you up-level your safety? By mastering the art of driver coaching.
We’ve put together some considerations as you build out your driver coaching program:
1. Communicate often and in a timely manner
The more you can open the lines of communication between you and your drivers, the more improvements you’ll see in overall safety. A few great ways to make sure you’re regularly checking in with drivers is to schedule time to meet with them regularly. Host regular fleet meetups so drivers can get to know you and each other on a personal level. Conduct driver surveys so drivers can share ideas and thoughts for improvement.
When an incident happens, make sure to have a conversation with the driver right away while it’s fresh in their mind. Look to listen and ask questions to understand the full picture of what happened. If a driver isn’t improving on their own, create a development plan for them that includes goals with timelines for improvement.
2. Put policies and procedures in place
Do you have safety management controls in place? Whether you’re going through a safety and compliance audit or you need to show a history of your safety culture, having clear policies, and procedures and documenting them is critical to success.
Conduct regular training sessions with drivers and document everything. With the increase in nuclear verdicts, a proven history and documented program can save you a lot of hassle. At HDVI we’ve partnered with Infiniti Workforce to bring all our fleet customers monthly digital driver trainings so they can easily get drivers the education they need and track progress across the business.
Practice makes perfect. Get in the habit of doing internal safety audits and inspections on a bi-annual or quarterly basis to assess policies and procedures, refresh drivers on the inspection process and review any new regulations. It’s important drivers know what to expect and have all required documents, forms, and emergency equipment for a streamlined inspection.
Keep clear safety and disciplinary policies on file and a record of any incidents with drivers, both good and bad. This will come in handy if you need to let the driver go or if you need to fight for them in court.
3. Reward drivers and encourage healthy competition
One of the most effective ways to improve safety and coach drivers is to start a rewards program. Encourage safe driving by choosing a few safety behaviors you want them to achieve and reward drivers on a weekly or monthly basis. Giving your team an incentive to drive safely makes them an active contributor to your fleet’s safety initiatives—and helps them avoid potential hazards like speeding, hard braking, and distracted driving.
Dashcams and ELD reports can help you identify top performers. If you’re an HDVI customer, our HDVI Fleet Services representatives have experience with a variety of incentive programs and can help identify a plan that works for you.
4. Use data to power your conversations
It’s easy to tell your drivers to make the safe decision, but unless you understand the root causes of incidents and unsafe behaviors you won’t help your drivers get any better. Dashcams provide a wealth of information and can detect early signs of dangerous behavior and give you time to correct it before it turns into something worse.
If you caught an incident on video or can show speeding via your telematics dashboard, it can be a great tool for coaching. We’ve found that if you use visuals and actually pull up maps and stats on a screen or print them out for your conversation, it can greatly help with driver coaching. These types of reports and data can also be a great tool to identify your top-performing drivers and reward them for putting in the extra effort and care.
5. Be willing to continually learn and improve
Just because you’re the coach doesn’t mean you won’t be learning through this process too. Like with any new habit, the process of building a safety culture takes time, so don’t expect your fleet to change overnight. But with that said, it does mean continual and constant improvement with you at the helm. As a Safety Manager and Driver Coach, you’ll need to stay open-minded and be willing to ask questions, seek out information, show a willingness to learn and admit mistakes, and listen to your drivers.
6. Get support to streamline your safety insights
Wading through all the data in a timely manner is imperative. When you’re juggling maintenance schedules, driver demands, and scheduling loads (not to mention all the routine fires you’re putting out), proactive safety and coaching may not make the top of your to-do list. However, if you’re reading this you know it’s worthwhile to rethink your priorities as proactive safety could end up saving you a ton of time, money and headaches.
Our advice? Choose an insurance partner that values safety just as much as you do and is willing to help you get there. At HDVI we believe you should get more from your insurance provider – including personalized safety insights and support. When you choose HDVI as your insurance provider, you’ll also get paired up with a personal Fleet Services representative that will help you review and understand your telematics data and identify insights that will help when coaching your drivers about their performance.
Contact us today to learn more about HDVI’s insurance product, our Fleet Services team, and how we can take your driver coaching to the next level.